Thursday, 13 March 2014

Show some respect you have not idea.

After teaching for thirty-one years, I was damn good at it and I did make a difference in student’s lives, but I was tired of everyone thinking they could do my job, and that I was so lucky to have so many holidays, and I was so well paid, and I should quit complaining all the time...SO I QUIT.

Being awarded the highest honour (The Arbos Award) the Saskatoon Teachers Federation will bestow on a teacher, you would think that I would have left teaching feeling less angry.

The 31 years I spent as a teacher should have left me with a feeling of pride, I should have left feeling that teaching was a good choice for a career. I should be out there encouraging others to venture into education as a career. I should be able to say you will be rewarded, you will feel like you have made a difference, you will be able to try different things, share your passion, and mold the future of our society.

Instead, I walked away from my career and have never looked back, and sadly I would not recommend it as a career choice to anyone.

My new career allows me to expect to be rewarded for my extra effort and education. All the skills that made me an Arbus award winner and a successful teacher are being recognized and will be financially rewarded, all the extra hours I am putting in will allow me to climb the ladder. My 13 years of post-secondary education which I paid for out of my pocket will make me more valuable in my new chosen vocation. My PHD will add to my market value in my new profession, when I finally finish it. I would have taught for another 10 years but being surrounded by so many teachers who have lost the glint in their eyes, has changed the culture and climate in our education system, and forced me welcoming a change and to try something different.

It makes me sad to see the state of the profession.

Teaching of any profession should reward a life-long learner and do everything it can to retain teachers who are willing to continue to better themselves. There should be no roof to the professional development that should be rewarded and paid for when a teacher of our children wants to better themselves.

The teaching profession is becoming a witch hunt, full of paranoid professionals who are feeling no one appreciates the work they are doing or all the extras they do and pay for out of their own pockets and they are going to be evaluated by people who know nothing about teaching. The government is so busy pitting the teachers against their federation, trying to save money for other needs within our society, enforcing education policies, changing the workdays and school year, standardize testing, budget cuts, lack of support systems, and so many other changes without consultation.
The lack of respect shown by our government resulted in a lack of respect for the profession. The public doesn't even see teaching as an essential service, they feel anyone can do it, teacher are feeling attacked from all directions and are losing their spark, smile and enthusiasm. Not a nice environment to work in, not a good environment for our students.

I never entered teaching as a method of become rich, I never entered teaching for all the time off, since I never had any. In my thirty years of teaching I never stopped seek of ways to professional develop myself as a teacher. So, don’t talk to me about time off. I did all of that because I thought and still think teaching is profession that matters. If I so strongly think that why did I retire and start another career?

After my first couple years of teaching I was highest level pay a teacher could achieve, so I did not leave education because of the low salary. NO …That was not the reason

Did I leave because I was not recognized for the 20 years of professional development (which I paid for out of my own pocket)?
NO that was not it, who wouldn't want to be in school for 13 years of post-secondary education, four degrees, and a PHD (which is three quarters done) and so many certifications I would be embarrassed to list them.

Was I hoping for more recognition for my great contribution to our society for 30 years?
NO, I did that for your children and I did win an award did I mention that.

Did I leave because if I put the same amount of energy into any other career that I put into my teaching career, I would have been so very rich?
Nope that was not it either…

I went into teacher because I thought I could make a difference. For the same reason that 99.9 percent of all teachers enter the profession. The sad truth is for me is that it became too much, not the teaching, not the students, but the lack of respect from the government, the public, the parents of the students, in one word … respect. It felt like, everyone in our society was telling us what teaching is doing wrong.

If anyone tells you that the issue that teachers have with the current contract negotiations is all about money, they have never been in the profession and they don’t know. They don’t know what this lack of respect for the profession is doing to climate and culture in our school.

Government, the public and parents should do everything they can to remove all the white noise that currently surround teachers and let them do their job. Canada’s education is ranked in the top ten in the world, shake a teacher’s hand and thank them, show some respect. Get out of the way, pay them with respect and recognize their professional development, allow them to write off their expense like all other profession, pay them if they want to better themselves, build and repair the school, invest in the tools needed to effectively teach, if you want to change education ask a teacher they know what is needed. If you are not a teacher you have no idea what they do, so be quiet and ask. Above all else RESPECT the profession, we have one of the best education system in the world because our teacher are damn good.

Oh, as a last note, I was also damn good at it and I did make a difference in student’s lives, but I was tired of everyone thinking they could do my job, and that I was so lucky to have so many holidays, and I was so well paid, and I should quit complaining all the time…Show some respect you have not idea....SO I QUIT.
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